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Challenging the Accuracy of Fuel Efficiency Tests

Critics assert that EU fuel consumption tests, set up in 1980 to give new car buyers a comparison on fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions, were designed for 'easy driving' and don't reflect the higher performance and higher speeds of today's cars. Photo: Fiat Croma 1.9 JTD.

Published: 24-Apr-2006

With the exception of many Carrera owners who treat the roads of central London like Silverstone, most sensible motorists rarely see their car's fuel consumption reach window-sticker perfection.

Yet driving style is not the only reason why real-world fuel efficiency falls short – it's what motoring engineers put in and what laboratory tests leave out that's the problem.

"The urban environment in 2006, whether in London or Paris, is significantly different now than it was 25 years ago," says Julien Bryan of Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford, which performs emission and fuel testing on more than 900 cars each year. "That's not what gets measured by the Government."

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